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Texas Horned Lizard

Texas State Reptile

Texas horned lizard photo was copied on 09/19/04 from Texas Parks & Wildlife Department's website: (all rights reserved; used by permission). Neither this website, nor the information presented on this website is endorsed by the State of Texas or Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

Official State Reptile of Texas

Texas designated the Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) the official state reptile in 1993 (Texas adopted a second reptile symbol in 2013; an official state sea turtle). All State Reptiles

Horned Lizard Facts

Horned lizards can have an intimidating appearance but are docile and gentle in nature. When a horned lizard feels threatened, it flattens and freezes in place, trying to blend with the ground. Texas now lists this unique animal as threatened.

Ancient native Americans of the Southwest (the Anasazi and the Mimbres) depicted horned lizards on pottery and in petroglyphs. It was a symbol of health and happiness to native Americans.

In recent times, the horned lizards' habitat has shrunk, imported fire ants have supplanted their food supply, and their numbers have declined drastically. The horned lizard is no longer seen in many regions where it was once common. Two of the three native Texas species of horned lizard are now listed as threatened (Texas horned lizard and the mountain short-horned lizard).


WHEREAS, The State of Texas traditionally has recognized certain natural life forms commonly found within the state as tangible representations of both the state's proud spirit and its vast and diverse natural heritage by proclaiming them official state symbols; and

WHEREAS, The Texas horned lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum, is well known and much loved by its human neighbors in the hot, arid regions where it makes its home; and

WHEREAS, Known variously as a horned toad, horny toad, and horned frog, this fascinating creature nevertheless is a true lizard, a member of the reptile suborder Lacertilia, with a lineage that has been traced back to the days of the dinosaurs; and

WHEREAS, The horned lizard possesses numerous attributes that qualify it for designation as an official representative of our state; despite a spiny exterior that presents a forbidding appearance, it is at heart a docile and peaceful creature; and

WHEREAS, A skilled hunter, the horned lizard helps to diminish the population of a variety of insect pests; although it prefers a diet of ants, it also will eat grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, pill bugs, and spiders; and

WHEREAS, Its protective coloration and resourcefulness enable it to escape detection by predators, but when threatened it is able to inflate its body to frighten its adversaries; and

WHEREAS, Although these characteristics distinguish the horned lizard as a fitting embodiment of our state and its heritage, it is perhaps most appropriate for designation as an official state symbol because, like many other things truly Texan, it is a threatened species; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the 73rd Legislature of the State of Texas hereby recognize the Texas horned lizard as an appropriate representative of our state; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Texas horned lizard be officially designated the State Reptile of Texas.